Category Archives: Joo Chiat/Katong

Merchants

On a roll now that I am back from my hiatus!

I don’t know how I missed that Tian Tian had closed its doors at Joo Chiat; my parents apparently have mentioned this several times.

In its place, is Merchants – a wine shop/bar/bistro, which we adjourned to after our grill dinner. And because A thought Awfully Chocolate at the end of the road was too far away to walk to.

We sat in the alfresco section; would have preferred the AC but it was cool enough outside.

I really like the vibe – chillax, not trying too hard and most importantly, not too noisy (we were probably the ones shrieking and cackling away; 5 girls, what to do?).

It isn’t one of those pish posh wine places where you feel obliged to know french words, swirl your glass and poke your nose in (I hope it wasn’t just us being oblivious to our surroundings!).

Lighting was warm, music was soft and not the thumping sort that drowns out half your conversations. I also like that the tables were a comfortable distance from each other so you are not forced to listen in on other people’s affairs but yet, it wasn’t deathly quiet and you just have a sense of tinkering glasses and light banter in the background.

They have a huge wine list; we got them to recommend and enjoyed our sweet and light Guetztraimer ($42+). We also shared a mixed platter of hams and cheeses ($38+) – the soft cheeses were smelly and yummy!

IMG_5572.JPG Overall, a relaxing place to hang out and gossip chit-chat over wine and small bites. Had a lovely night. Looking for cheese kakis to go back again!

443 Joo Chiat Road
http://www.merchantsofsingapore.com.sg/cellar-doors/#joo-chiat-rd

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Braserio

Back from a long hiatus!

We had our monthly girls’ night at Braserio, a new grill place along Joo Chiat (near Scanteak, for those familiar with the area). The place was totally empty when we got there at 7:20pm which got me slightly worried. They did fill up later in the evening (maybe we were just the uncool early birds).

IMG_5566.JPG They put us on the second floor, and whilst the exclusivity of having the whole floor to ourselves was entertaining for a bit, it got little difficult to get prompt service with the servers stationed downstairs. Our server was a young, earnest and shy boy who tried very hard so we played nice.

The menu went easy on brain cells. For $19,90++, you choose from beef steak, beef skewers, roast chicken or the monthly specials (prawns for this month) and it comes with free flow of fries and salad. Both A and C commented separately that it should be the other way around – greedy buggers.

There are also a few appetisers and desserts but none too compelling. For alkies, you may want to try their speciality Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail of sugar cane hard liquor, sugar and lime.

The flavour of the night was beef steak, medium rare. The steak was juicy and tender, but perhaps underdone (almost raw) at parts. A liked it but I thought it was too barbaric for me. Can’t ask for too much at this price point – so won’t comment on marbling but there were enough fatty bits to make one happy.

IMG_5569.JPG The fries were literally cut potato sticks. Very rustic; I like the pieces with the skin still on – I guess they were crispier. Somehow fries done this way are not as addictive; we didn’t need refills. The salad was lettuce and tomatoes tossed together, also no refills required.

IMG_5568.JPG The meal came with their 3 house-special sauces – BBQ, Mango and Mustard. I like the mustard best – sourish and slightly spicy; adds punch to the fries and meat.

IMG_5567.JPG This may sound a little harsh, but my honest opinion is that I am not too sure where this may fit in with the competitive F&B scene. It does not have the warm Latino overdose-on-meats vibes of a Brazillian Churrascaria nor the all-too-popular industrial-chic hippy set-up. It felt a little more like Grill meets Ikea. Whilst the meat was good and price reasonable, there are just too many options out there and nothing too unique to draw me back.

333 Joo Chiat Road
Open 6-11pm
Braseiro Restaurant Singapore

British Hainan

R and I had an impromptu dinner date with his sister and her hubby in the neighbourhood, at British Hainan.

After we were done admiring the eclectic mix of vintage collectibles and taking tonnes of photos, we finally settled down to order. The owner, Fred, is a real friendly chap; we felt like visitors in his cool house. He came to check on how we were and treated us to a bowl of mixed nuts before our orders arrived so that we are “kept entertained”.

B had already psycho-ed me to order the lamb shank ($28.90). I wavered a little between that and the oxtail stew but ended up with the former. No regrets! The meat was extremely tender and had a good mix of fats/tendon. The gravy was flavourfully sweet with carrots and potatoes, which was also a perfect dip for the accompanying bread. It was quite a big portion but yummy enough to finish it all.

20140331-154950.jpg R had the IPA chicken ($12.90). None of us actually knew what IPA was. For those in our “mountain turtle” family, IPA is a pale ale. This gave the grilled chicken leg a sweet, slightly sour and slightly bitter taste all at once. A simple one-dish meal which I am sure we would return for.

20140331-155125.jpg My SIL started with the onion soup ($6) and had the bangers and mash ($12.90). She gave both dishes a thumbs up.

20140331-155502.jpg20140331-155555.jpg My BIL had the fish and chips. This is not a great photo as the fish toppled over before I could take a shot. I didn’t try the fish but I could hear the crunch as he cut through it. I “stole” loads of the fries though – they were crispy and potato-ey.

20140331-155732.jpg Fred also treated us to ice cream after the meal, which was really nice of him.

20140331-155915.jpg Overall, a satisfying meal at affordable prices. We will definitely be back to try the other stuff on the menu. I already have my heart set on the clams with white wine sauce for our next visit.

20140331-160038.jpg 75 Carpmael Road
Open Mon/Tue-Sat: 11:30am-10pm and Sun 6-10pm [Updated] Lunch (Fri/Sat) 12-3pm / Dinner (daily except Tue) 6-10pm
https://www.facebook.com/British.Hainan

Humble Loaf

I finally made it to Humble Loaf after 3 previous failed attempts* and I absolutely love the place!

It is a tiny cafe, and most out of place in a building best (or maybe, only) known for their photocopier shops and maid agencies.

The menu changes periodically and is artistically pencilled on their chalkboard. The breads used are all freshly baked in-house.

20140314-173059.jpg They also have weekend specials, which I now receive updates on after following them both on Facebook and Instagram. To be frank, I wasn’t particularly excited to check them out that weekend as they were featuring tomato tartare and I am not a big fan of sour stuff. As with all things in life, R and I somehow ended up there and of course, ended up ordering the tomato tartare – yuzu kosho, bean salad and marmite glaze – served on crouton discs.

20140314-173507.jpg It was a good mixture, texture wise – the crisp croutons with the mushy tomato and the green crunchy stuff on top (which I found out was the “yuzu kosho”, or yuzu citrus peel and green chillies). The tartness of the tomatoes was also mellowed by green chillies and marmite glaze. An interesting dish and you could almost “taste” the thought put into this dish.

I love brie and it was hard for me not to order the caramelized French brie tartine. The cheese coupled with the sweet burnt muscavdo cheese was yummy. But I did regret not choosing something more “exciting”.

20140314-173605.jpg But I had my “excitement” when the Sea-ly eggs (eggs with smoked salmon and marinated seaweed) arrived. It was a dish of colourful goodness and complexity – the creaminess of the egg + the saltiness of the stringy seaweed + the rawness of the soft salmon + the clean taste of the crisp little spring onion bits. Must try!

20140314-173708.jpg I am no coffee connoisseur; the coffee tasted just fine. Here’s my flat white and his short black; quite reflective of our (sometimes) divergent taste in food.

20140314-174134.jpg I really hope Humble Loaf expands (in the East). More people should get to enjoy their extremely imaginative, thoughtful and tasty creations. Highly recommended!

20140314-174439.jpg 20140314-175306.jpg Katong Shopping Centre, #B1-92
See above for opening times
(be sure to check their Facebook page before going as they may close on an ad-hoc basis or sell out for the day*)
http://thehumbleloaf.com/